The takeover of the Ministry in DHs was, for me, the point that the 7th book irrevocably jumped the shark. That business came nowhere near to “the possible”.
Not that I didn’t already have plenty of problems with the book and the sloppy handling of information before that. There was no shortage of irritating glitches and gaffes for me to trip over in the first 7 chapters. But the fall of the Ministry was the point that I was irretrievably thrown out of the story and never really managed to get all the way back in.
I flatly do not believe that book.
And I certainly don’t believe the fall of the Ministry and the virtual rolling over of the whole British ww within a matter of weeks without a protest.
I say it’s spinach, and I say the hell with it.
As the problem was defined by another member of a listgroup to which I belonged:
“She pretended to be using her story to tell us about our world; instead she used our world to tell us about her story. …her world does not reflect the moral spectrum of our world, but distorts it. What she tells us about the nature of good and evil is a lie. On the other hand, she uses RL motifs, eg Nazi/blond/pure-blood/propaganda/camps, as shorthand proofs of evil to make her world seem more applicable and real than it is.”
And I wholeheartedly concur.
It took the Nazis close to 20 years to get established to the point that our Tom seems to have managed in about eight weeks. And without ever showing his face, either. Hitler had been holding public rallies for years.
And I don’t believe it.
If taking over the Ministry only required putting the Minister, or the head of the DMLE under Imperius, why didn’t he do that the first time?
Hell, he had the man’s own son on tap to do it, in the privacy of their own home, too.
Even BabyMort managed to put Barty Crouch under Imperius. It didn’t last more than a few months, but that’s just because no one kept an eye on him to make sure he wasn’t throwing it off.
• • • •
Frankly, I’m inclined to suspect that Tom didn’t take over the Ministry the first time round because he had no intention of taking over the Ministry at all. He was enjoying himself perfectly well with things as they were, thank you very much.
He did it the second time to give his followers something to do, and keep them occupied while he took care of the threat of the Potter boy and went in search of true immortality. The troops can run the damn government to suit themselves, and he’ll just fly the flag and put a word in here or there as he pleases just so they remember that ultimately he is still in charge.
In CoS, PoA, and even GoF the political backdrop was roughly in scale with the story. The exaggerations of OotP were over the top, but they still played. Mainly because they were pretty firmly kept in the background. They were even further in the background in HBP.
But the requirements of the story that Rowling had decided to tell in DHs demanded that they elbow their way into the foreground, at least during part of the book. And when they did, they were flatly unbelievable.
And I wasn’t the only one to think so, either.
• • • •
Early in September 2007 I happened to post a comment to the effect of this on the now departed ‘Tea at Spinner’s End’ board where I hung out.
One of the other members took up the gauntlet and tossed out a suggestion which set off a discussion which ran over the course of about four days and which, although it probably doesn’t cover every possible permutation, seems to have explored the subject pretty nicely.
I had intended to work up something out of that discussion from my own posts.
However, it soon became apparent that a composition in six-part harmony tends to lose a lot when reduced to a single voice.
Consequently: you win a prize! Herein follows a transcript of the whole discussion re-posted with the permission of the participants.
I will admit that my own posts have been lightly reworked and expanded for clarity (and upon occasion, grammar). Those of the rest of the participants have been no more than reformatted. Although exterania which had nothing to do with the main discussion may have been deleted.
As is typically the case so early after the release of a book, we were more committed to doing a patch job, than simply scrapping something that was presented as legitimate canon.
The full cast is, in order of appearance:
Myself, R.V. Crouch, Ceridwen, PosterFour, shely_nyc, & anonymous
• • • •
The more I think of what actually happened in DHs, the more I come to the conclusion that the real problem is what everyone — particularly the narrator — has to say about it.
The timing is totally off on some things. I can’t believe that the Ministry fell and the whole society rolled over as quickly as Rowling claims it did. I cannot believe in some of the last minute excuses she pulled out of her hat, (*cough* Ron speaking Parseltongue *cough*) but for the most part I haven’t that big a quibble with the actual actions. I just flatly cannot believe the explanations she gives for things.
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«The timing is totally off on some things. I can’t believe that the Ministry fell and the whole society rolled over as quickly as Rowling claims it did.»
Very true. In fact I had exactly the same feeling of disbelief during the Ministry oppression in OotP. It was a very shoddy recreation of 1984. The WW behaves in the same kind of brainwashed mindless fashion as Orwell’s Oceania (Both the Ministry and Voldemort can change Harry from Savior to Nemesis in one night. That reminds me so strongly of that speech the leader gives the crowd where he changes the enemy from Eurasia to Eastasia in a single breath). But the huge difference is that there’s absolutely no justification for the WW to behave like this.
JKR would have been much better off cutting out the entire self serving Ministry plot of OotP and giving Lord Voldemort his coup in Book 5 itself. He could have manipulated and pulled strings for two years and then I may have believed the deception and public subservience.
I’m reminded of the Prophecy. JKR could have given Voldemort his coup and the Prophecy in Book 5. Did Voldemort’s ignorance of the whole Prophecy during the Second War change anything? What difference would it have made if he had known that ‘neither can live while the other survives’ or that ‘he will have a power the Dark Lord knows not’? Voldemort’s arrogance would have made him believe that the ‘power’ in question would be irrelevant (and he would have been right BTW. Voldemort was defeated by the ‘Master of the Elder Wand’.)
A rewrite from Book 5 onwards would be great. Book 5 should be the Ministry coup. Book 6 is already perfect as the Hogwarts coup (‘apparent’ coup since Voldemort only thinks Snape is his) Book 7 would then have looked a little more realistic when the WW rolled over.
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And forget Pius Thicknesse. It was Scrimgrour who was put under Imperius during the first part of OotP while the Ministry was trying to deny the return and not watching their own backs.
The coup (Phase I) should have taken place at the same time the Dementors left Azkaban in January, with Voldemort making his ultimatum then, displacing Fudge [with Scrimgeour (who immediately locked horns with Albus)], and there would have been something other than merely going around the bend to explain Umbridge’s escalating tyranny. And the Raid on the DoM would have had something going on beyond a simple case of breaking and entering. There would have also have been an external reason for the Order to have withdrawn their guards on the place after Arthur’s snakebite.
By the end of the year, the Phase II ought to have gone in with Scrimgeour getting the Dementors off the streets and back into Ministry “control”, and the fact that the DEs swept up in the raid had escaped before the Dementors returned to the prison could have been tucked into the Quibbler, or even the Prophet. (And some of the most useful of them could have been given a blanket pardon for some bogus service or other).
I think we could have done perfectly well without the Other Minister chapter. Even if Rowling did keep desperately trying to find a book to put it in.
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«And forget Pius Thicknesse. It was Scrimgrour who was put under Imperius during the first part of OotP while the Ministry was trying to deny the return and not watching their own backs.»
This could have been shown, or implied, at the beginning of HBP, revealed in the Quibbler, and therefore placing Luna in danger months before she was in the series. This is the sort of thing Hermione would think of and talk about after the article, even if no one believes her based on Luna’s disregard for any supposed danger. Hermione could take the Cassandra role, with the usual resulting misleading plotline up to Luna’s capture. Her Quidditch commentary was cute, but I think her capture would have moved the plot better.
«The coup (Phase I) should have taken place at the same time the Dementors left Azkaban in January, displacing Fudge, and there would have been something other than merely going around the bend to explain Umbridge’s escalating tyranny.»
It would have been a good moment, too, to have Scrimgeour in the Headmaster’s office instead of Fudge when the DA is ratted out. It would have been a shock to Harry and the reader that the Minister could be replaced so quickly (he seems to have been replaced quickly between OotP and HBP anyway, so no difference there).
«And the Raid on the DoM would have been something more than a simple case of breaking and entering. There would have also have been an external reason for the Order to have withdrawn their guards on the place after Arthur’s snakebite.»
This could also lead to the death of Emmeline Vance, or at least her disappearance, at the end of OotP instead of the beginning of HBP. Weren’t you the one who suggested that she may have been captured while guarding the DoM? Someone did, and I liked that. Only, she could be watching from outside, like the trio do in DH, or have been Polyjuiced, since Rowling at least seemed to re-use plot elements.
«By the end of the year, the Phase II ought to have gone in with Scrimgeour getting the Dementors off the streets and back into Ministry “control”, and the fact that the DEs swept up in the raid had escaped before the Dementors returned to the prison could have been tucked into the Quibbler, or even the Prophet. (and some of the most useful of them could have been given a blanket pardon for some bogus service or other).»
I’m all for getting rid of the Dementor fog. The more useful DEs could have been said to have been “cooperating with the Ministry” to get rid of rogue DE elements. If Stan Shunpike is released now, he could make a guest appearance for Harry to congratulate himself about “being right”, just set up to be blown away during the chase from Privet Drive in DH.
I liked the Other Minister chapter. It was vaguely funny. But the same information could have been given another way, like Scrimgeour suddenly Minister instead of Fudge in Dumbledore’s office, and a passing remark (or accusation to Dumbledore) about his Muggle counterpart’s difficulties.
Well, in what we have now, Vance was killed around the corner from the Muggle PM’s offices.
It would have worked better if it had been elsewhere on what is presumed to have been Order business.
I just suggested that her capture was likely to have been on Order business with something to do with the Muggle PM. After all, Downing St (unless that’s only the residence, and not the offices) doesn’t really sound like a wizarding hang-out.
I was thinking that maybe the MoM was near Downing Street (I think the residence and office are two parts of the same building, not positive). The WW government and the Muggle government being close to each other would make sense, to me. shrug
«It would have worked better if it had been elsewhere on what is presumed to have been Order business.»
I think she was found there because it embarrassed the Muggle PM. What I don’t get, and a re-working of OotP/HBP beginning like we’ve been talking about could take care of this, is why were there attacks on the Muggle world now, and then not again until a year later? I think you speculated this could have been his temper tantrum at finding out about the diary, but why just stop? A take-over at the Ministry in OotP would make this a part of a larger and escalating campaign of terror for Muggle-borns by attacking their relations in seemingly random attacks against Muggles. The Muggles wouldn’t piece the commonality together, but Dumbledore would.
Moving things forward would impact something I’ve seen discussed (ad nauseum again) recently, Marietta’s scarring. By this time, they actually would be in a war, and her turning the DA in to Umbridge would be more like betrayal than just reluctance to be a part of an unsanctioned group.
Another thing that would change would be that, with Voldemort’s people in charge at the MoM, he could get in to grab the prophecy himself, negating the need for Harry and Co. to go to the MoM (unless it was to stop him, and why would that stop him for good if he’s basically in control?), and, due to that, would have Dumbledore telling Harry the entire prophecy much earlier in the book.
At least, I think so. I’m doing a couple of things at once here, so maybe I’m not thinking things through very well.
Yes. Voldemort having taken the Ministry would eliminate the need for him to lure Harry into the DoM to retrieve the Prophecy for him.
Instead, he would want to lure him there to capture and kill him. Whether he would have already heard the real Prophecy and left a dummy substitute in its place wouldn’t matter since, the way it played out, no one even noticed the echo of Trelawney giving it when it smashed. (And that would make a nice see it once/see it again, feint with the Locket.) The idea of a blank substitute would be planted in the reader’s mind if Harry noticed that that globe wasn’t dusty like all the others. Once it was pretty clear that Tom had heard the real one, Albus might have felt pressured into telling Harry as well, to level the field.
And I’m not convinced that the attacks on the Muggle world had stopped. Once Harry was at Hogwarts his only information was from the Prophet, and it isn’t likely to report attacks out in the Muggle world. (particularly not once the Ministry had effectively fallen.) It would report things like werewolf attacks and the Muggle-born registry, and the arrest of dissidents, but not a lot else.
The real problem with having the Ministry fall in Year 5 is keeping Hermione at Hogwarts in Year 6. (Not that she actually did much that was useful that year.) As well as reinstating Albus as Headmaster. Perhaps the raid on the DoM ought to have been the point at which the story broke, not that Tom was back, but that Scrimgeour was under his control. And that story need not be public. Just that the Order became aware of it.
But the whole Muggle-born Registry nonsense would have made a lot more sense over Year 6 as a “protective measure” once Tom was known to be at large and only turned abusive when it actually did in Book 7.
We would need a different dramatic interruption of the Weasley wedding, but that ought to be easy enough to come up with.
Oh, I like the “Muggle-born Registry as Protective Measure”! The Ministry would insist that Muggle-born students MUST attend Hogwarts during year 6/HBP, “for their own protection”, any students not complying with Ministry edict will be forcibly taken to the school and the parents “relocated”. Of course, the Ministry under Death Eater control would actually have the Muggle-borns where they can find them when the time comes to emasculate them, charge them with stealing magic, and whatever else they plan to do. Adults would be moved to a wizarding council estate that would slowly have all rights removed, by instating curfews due to possible violence against them, wearing identifying badges (if we’re going to take the Nazi theme, then run with it), they can’t leave the ghetto without authorization papers, etc.
Dumbledore at Hogwarts would be a problem. He has to be there for Draco’s initiation/first task (Death Eater? Not yet Death Eater?) and getting him out of the way has to be a priority for some reason. If the Death Eater control of the Ministry is still secret, would Dumbledore know anyway? If the Death Eater control of the Ministry is still secret, could the murder of the Headmaster by a student/teacher be cause for the Ministry to step in overtly in book 7/DH (have to get a new title for that one, I think) and run it outright, with Snape again as Headmaster?
Dumbledore mentions that he’s smart, so his mistakes are bigger than other people’s: if he didn’t realize that the Ministry had fallen internally, that would be a very big mistake. Or, he could choose to remain at Hogwarts, since they want him there anyway in order to kill him and get the WW population on their side for instating their own Headmaster, in order to a) protect the students and b) teach Harry about the Horcruxes.
Dumbledore’s hand: Snape’s explanation to the Black sisters is good enough for the Ministry, I think, if they’re accepting in book 6 that Voldemort’s back.
Interruption to Weasley wedding... hm. Rounding up of Muggle-borns? “Evacuation” of foreign nationals due to state of emergency? Overt take-over of the Ministry, which had only been covert so far? Impending arrest of Harry Potter as a “person of interest” in Dumbledore’s death?
Book 5: The faux prophecy would be good. Foreshadowing the locket, yes. How would/why would Harry be lured to the Ministry? Same device, supposedly having captured Sirius? I’m assuming the same conditions under Umbridge would exist. Would they?
What about Arthur? Does he survive Nagini’s attack, or not? What sort of reprisals for Umbridge in the forest? Or will her ancestry be in question at this point, hence her taking the locket from Mundungus? Would the forest scenario feature at all?
Book 6: How would Dumbledore and Harry get out of Hogwarts to find the locket if the Ministry was keeping closer tabs on the school? Harry has his Invisibility Cloak, Dumbledore said he doesn’t need a cloak to become invisible — let that comment mean something in HBP.
Book 7: I liked the DA hiding in the RoR. Could Muggle-borns who had been interred at the school also hide there when things turn ugly, or would reprisals against the student body be too bad?
We’ve also got the business of Percy to contend with.
Of course that one is already a botch from Rowling. Percy wasn’t a member of the Order. He had already split off from the family before the DA was formed. He’s been out of touch since that abortive visit home at Christmas in Year 6. How the hell did he know to contact Aberforth Dumbledore when he started feeling uncomfortable about the direction the Ministry was taking? How, for that matter, did he even know who Aberforth Dumbledore was, in order to later have Aberforth tell him when to show up at the Hog’s Head to take the tunnel to the DA hideout to mend fences with Fred?
I agree that since he was probably still on the Minister’s staff he might have known that the Minister was called to Hogwarts, even that the Minister was saying something about of capturing Harry Potter. But the call to arms was in the middle of the night, and how would Percy know he needed to be at the Hog’s Head? (Well, I suppose that doesn’t need to be a big problem. He’s on the staff, the Minister contacted him, and ordered him to come.)
While we’re on the subject, I think we could do without Percy accompanying the Minister to the Burrow for Christmas dinner.
I’d let Arthur be killed by Nagini. The fact that the bite is supposed to be fatal really is needed to support the fact that Snape’s bite was fatal. That’s wiggle-room that is awkward and unnecessary.
So. Okay. In year 6 all the kids have to be at school. The Muggle-born Registration office starts up and goes all the way through Year 6. The Weasley wedding is interrupted by a Ministry squad which is there to attempt to arrest any Muggle-borns and take them all into “protective” custody (Shacklebolt still gives the alarm. That is the point that his cover is broken and he goes into hiding). Year 7 there are no Muggle-borns left at Hogwarts.
(Rowling botched that business too. She tried to claim after the fact that Colin only snuck back into the castle to fight along with the rest of the DA when the call went out, but she had Minerva chivvying a Creevy out of the castle during the evacuation. And that would have been Dennis, not Colin. By the end of his 6th year Colin would stand at least an 80% chance of already being of age.)
Or, since by the time of the wedding they know Harry is at the Burrow, an attempt to take him in for questioning regarding Albus’s death would also work. That iteration of the story broke very soon afterwards, in Rowling’s version. (If Arthur is dead by then we don’t have the confusion of whether or not he continues to go to work after the wedding is crashed.) Otherwise Mundungus giving the Locket to Umbridge during the previous summer, and the forest escape could play as they are with minor tweaking.
Not sure just when the rumors ought to be started that the Ministry has fallen and is under Tom’s control. (Shacklebolt abruptly recalled from the Muggle PM’s office?) Perhaps Potterwatch ought to be mentioned earlier than it was. We now know that the DEs managed to muzzle Zeno Lovegood by Christmas. Even if Harry was out of touch long enough not to know that. Once the Muggle-borns started being rounded up the news couldn’t have helped seeping out. Half the population is related to Muggle-borns.
«I’d let Arthur be killed by Nagini. The fact that the bite is supposed to be fatal is needed to support the fact that Snape’s bite was fatal. That’s wiggle-room that is awkward and unnecessary.»
This would have been fine with me. But she couldn’t. Since we’re sorta talking about Percy and he’s my own personal pet character, I can say this: It would have required one of two things‚ A; some kind of death bed-reconciliation and a happy reuniting of family... or no reconciliation, leaving the family to hate him for all eternity. If it were the former, Percy’s storyline and mystery would have been wrapped up in book 5. But she kept his plot line a mystery and even kept adding to it, book after book. The latter wasn’t going to happen. And when I used the word mystery, it wasn’t mysterious, per se, but there was a lot going on with him that seemed to have some significance like his being shuttled from one minister to another, his constant promotions and the like. It seemed like something was going on.
Neither of the two scenarios I suggested was possible for DHs. Neither would have worked because it wasn’t in “the message” she was sending in this book, which is I don’t even know what at this point.
That Percy had to reconcile was a given, just as Snape being good was a given, but the pacing and arc of this book left no room for the subplot to be dealt with. So, what we get is a “Percy came to his senses by any means necessary — off the page” resolution. This, in point of fact, was Percy’s whole plot line. EVERYTHING he was involved in was off the page, which is why many readers thought he was either Imperiused or a spy for either the order or the death eaters.
Arthur’s death would be the point where Percy reconciles. He would go back to the Ministry (guy’s got to have a job), and will actively be a spy for the Order there. If Rowling had killed Arthur off, I think this is how it would have played. Percy’s information would give the suspicion, then the outright news, that Death Eaters were taking over. Percy is young enough that he might not twig onto some of the earlier Imperiused officials, but he’ll notice odd things happening and finally see that they’re under the spell.
If Percy is an Order spy, he would know to go to the Hog’s Head. Aberforth is also an Order member. Percy would also know about the entrance to Hogwarts from there. Harry doesn’t need to know the particulars about Percy’s storyline, just that someone at the Ministry (could be any Order member still there, like Shacklebolt) is passing information to the Order. Not sure if Percy’s reconciliation with Arthur would be generally known, or just known to a few.
Arthur’s bites and survival has been a huge problem for me, being a big Snape fan. Hermione being able to heal Harry’s bite from Nagini in the Bathilda chapter added more dissatisfaction. She also staunched Ron’s bleeding when he was splinched. She was at the shack when Snape died, but all she did was produce a flask to hold his memories. As my BritLit teacher says, “What’s up with that?” Though I like the opening this gives to fanfic.
Wedding interrupted to take Muggle-borns into “protective custody” works. They can also intend to take Harry into custody for questioning in connection with Dumbledore’s death. Everyone knows Harry hangs out at the Burrow and is friends with the Weasleys, it would be a two-for-one-visit shot. After this, there would be articles about wanting Harry for questioning, dovetailing with the Person of Interest thing that was going on in DH.
Muggle-born protective custody and growing suspicion of half-bloods would be logical reasons for Umbridge to seize the locket from Mundungus. Or, she could claim that she recognizes this locket, it’s so-and-so’s from her “Selwyn” side of the family. What could Mundungus say to that? “No, I stole it from the Blacks”? It’s an obvious lie to readers, and would set Umbridge up for a reveal of being a half-blood.
Shacklebolt being driven out of his position at the Muggle PM’s would also alert the Muggle government to the problems in the WW. If the Muggle PM is supposed to be in any way important, have him coordinating with Shacklebolt, even after Shacklebolt’s dismissal, mentioned but never shown. The Muggle authorities would try to move Muggle relations of Muggle-borns, or something. Hermione’s parents could be re-settled in Australia by the government, not by Awesome Hermione Mind Control, though in this situation, her sending them there would make more sense. Their agreeing to go rather than ambiguously being re-identified and sent, would make sense, too.
Potterwatch would start up right after the wedding invasion. On the surface, it would be a program meant to generate sightings of Harry Potter for the Ministry. Order members would somehow be informed to use a password to find a piggybacked message in the broadcast. I don’t know how the trio would find out about that, but they would have to do so earlier, IMO, just so they can get what little news is available.
I liked Xeno Lovegood’s motivation to capture Harry & Co. I didn’t think it played out too well, there was too huge a gap between their arrival and the Ministry’s arrival. When would Luna be captured for leverage?
Possible scenario: Muggle-borns, other than Hermione who escapes from the wedding, would be rounded up and put into a ghetto, the same place where the adult Muggle-borns were brought earlier. They’re put to work (slave labor) in a factory or mill. Some, like Colin Creevy, would escape and join the resistance in the hills outside of Hogsmeade, coordinated by Aberforth. This would explain Colin Creevy’s presence at the Battle of Hogwarts. Otherwise, his presence is not adequately explained, IMO.
Actually I think the Ministry coup would not interfere with Hogwarts. In the First War Voldemort placed Severus Snape at the school. During his second rise he sent Barty Jr into Hogwarts under the guise of Alastor Moody. But he never had the courage or inclination to take Dumbledore on face to face or try to oust him. Of course, once in control of the Ministry, he could replace the board of governors with puppets and declare his own Headmaster and staff (Malfoy’s tactic in CoS) But I don’t think Dumbledore would obey that order once he knew the Ministry was under Voldemort’s control. If Dumbledore disobeyed the only option would be to enter the school and face him or give his ‘trusted advisor’ the final order. So I think Book 6 still works quite well. The Draco subplot could remain because Voldemort would still have a reason to be angry at Lucius (the Diary) even if the coup had given him the Prophecy.
Yes, book 6 would need very little alteration so far as the foreground action goes. (Most of the last half of Book 5 as well.)
Yes, Percy reconciles with his mother after Arthur is killed, mid-way book 5. (Aw hell, have the death-bed reconciliation at St Mungo’s. Let the trio escape in embarrassment and wander up to the closed ward then.) He doesn’t join the Order then, but is back in contact with his mother. Bill requests permanent posting in Britain to be nearer his family.
Ministry admits Tom is back when the Dementors leave Azkaban. Tom’s ultimatum to Fudge in January, along with the “tantrum”. Which means Scrimgeour goes into office offscreen. Shacklebolt might be sent to the Muggle PM soon afterwards, since Fudge now gets ousted right after the Azkaban Breakout. That’s only a couple of weeks after Arthur is killed. Scrimgeour may have suspicions of Shaklebolt’s loyalties.
We could insert the Other Minister chapter, but the PoV shift would be awkward in the middle of a book. We might simply shift just when the owl post and Floo network went under close surveillance at Hogwarts and have Ron get a letter from his mother or Bill to bring us up to speed after the Ministry change-over. I think Percy should be the one to finally realize that Scrimgeour is under DE control, and several other department heads as well. He’s the one in place to do it. And the news should probably break (to the Order) in the course of the raid, or immediately afterwards.
There are a number of other shifts and details that would have to be addressed. Like Remus and the werewolves (which ended up going nowhere) and the timing on that, but I really do think that it would work. Probably without all that many major changes of anything but timing.
I just feel that we’d have to see Percy accept the position of spy and agree to do it. Spying goes against his nature, and as we know from JKR, no one’s true nature ever changes.
Maybe not even particularly active spying on Percy’s part. Just anxiously contacting his brother or Shacklebolt and telling them things he is getting worried about.
I think they would wibble a bit and ask him to stay where he was and let them know if something truly odd cropped up. Like, in the event, maybe the abrupt shift from dealing with Dumbledore’s will and giving Harry his legacy, and the very next day deciding to arrest him and hold him for questioning in the matter of Albus’s murder.
After all, does the whole wedding reception need to be disrupted, or do we just need to get a warning to Harry and his friends? That ought to be the point at which Shacklebolt is forced into hiding as well. Remus should report that when he later shows up at #12 and asks to be taken along on the quest.
Another thing I’d be tempted to do is to completely rework or dump the debacle at the Ministry [in DHs]. Yes they actually did manage to come up with a plan to get in there. But they hadn’t a clue of what to do once they got there. If they wanted the Locket, they would have been better off getting Umbridge’s address (from Percy?) and doing a spot of household burglary. Her wards weren’t likely to be any more competent than the rest of her magic. And they might have had a chance to pick up some interesting information while lurking.
If they had to get into the Ministry (in order for a DE to hitch a ride to #12 in a side-along), they could have been forced to go there for some other purpose, maybe spring someone they knew. Maybe Hermione gets identified and taken into custody.
I would more likely believe that Shacklebolt went to him and said, “Are you coming or not?”
ETA ... On the other hand, I can also see him saying, “I have had enough. I’m leaving to fight the good fight.”
«(Aw hell, have the death-bed reconciliation at St Mungo’s. Let the trio walk in on it.)»
Or have Percy walk in while the trio is there, then it gets so maudlin that they leave. Tears, hugging, blubbered confessions, everything.
«Doesn’t join the Order then, but is back in contact with his mother.»
«I think they would wibble a bit and ask him to stay where he was and let them know if something truly odd cropped up. Like, maybe the abrupt shift from dealing with Dumbledore’s will and giving Harry his legacy, and the very next day deciding to arrest him and hold him for questioning in the matter of Albus’s murder.»
I’m combining posts here. This seems like a more natural segue for Percy into actual spying: he falls into it rather than signs on. I can more readily buy Percy, who’s been in place for yonks by this time, becoming an Order spy rather than Remus, who’s been trying to live like a wizard rather than a werewolf. Percy’s perfectly situated to notice things that the Order will need to know as soon as he can get the info to them.
«After all, does the whole wedding reception need to be disrupted, or do we just need to get a warning to Harry and his friends?»
If they’re coming after Muggle-borns, the entire wedding should be disrupted. The Weasleys are known “blood traitors”, everyone at the wedding will be scrutinized for blood status. If it’s to take Harry in for questioning, then just the trio, or just Harry, and he can grab Ron and Hermione.
BTW, nice catch on Bill’s returning to work in England. Arthur’s death makes a lot of sense there.
«Shacklebolt might be sent to the Muggle PM soon afterwards, since Fudge now gets ousted right after the Azkaban Breakout. That’s only a few weeks after Arthur is killed. Scrimgeour may have suspicions of Shaklebolt’s loyalties.»
So Scrimgeour is not under Imperius when he takes office. Yaxley and his people would work on him after this, and Percy would be the informant for the Order. Which loyalties would Scrimgeour be suspicious of? That Shacklebolt is an Order member? Or that he is sympathetic to the Death Eaters? I’m assuming Order, but either way would at least show that Scrimgeour is on the ball and could foreshadow a radical change in his perception to alert Percy to his being under Imperius.
«We could insert the Other Minister chapter, but the PoV shift would be awkward in the middle of a book.»
How about paring it down to a few paragraphs at the end of the revised Book 5? Instead of introducing Scrimgeour, which I’m taking it would have happened earlier, Fudge would show up, afraid and out of breath, and tell the PM that the WW gov’t has fallen and not to trust anyone.
Let me know if I’m getting the timeline straight here. I have math issues, too. Ask my poor teachers, the ones who are still coherent enough to talk.
«Another thing I’d be tempted to do is to completely rework or dump the debacle at the Ministry.»
Please, yes. If we’re re-working things, let’s ditch this. If they do go, have Harry leave Moody’s eyeball right where it is. Why alert people that they’re there? Attacking the Umbridge in her lair is more like it, IMO. Finding the locket in her jewelry box would get rid of the dichotomy of it seeming not to affect her while it affects the trio. I know there’s been a post-canon interview to answer this (same one as the Harry’s like Snape quote), but I’d rather see something demonstrated in the story. Call me funny that way.
«If they had to get into the Ministry (in order for a DE to hitch a ride to #12 in a side-along), they could have been forced to go there for some other purpose, maybe spring someone they knew. Maybe Hermione gets identified and taken into custody.»
That could be the outcome of the diner scene after the wedding, instead of what we got, two unconscious Death Eaters and a waitress. The trigger could still be mentioning Voldy’s name, but I think we need to get that info, that saying his name would bring Death Eaters running, sooner, too.
(Post 2) Adding: The diner scene would then have to be later, unless the trio go to Grimmauld Place sooner, perhaps base there secretly before Harry’s birthday and the wedding, to plan outside of Molly’s hearing.
*tapping foot impatiently*
So which one of you is going to start writing the revised chapters/bits of DH you are so brilliantly postulating? Want Fic!
Mmmm. I think that it would be simpler for Yaxley to get Scrimgeour under control before the coup. The Ministry was too busy denying that Tom was back for six months to watch their own backs, even though the Ministry turned out to be completely infiltrated.
Bill was already in England during the summer, but I don’t recall it being a permanent posting.
Percy’s a bit clueless and naive, but he’s bright. And he saw the real McCoy warrior mentality up close and personal with Crouch Sr. Scrimgeour may have a similar rep but if he was already under control before he took office, all sorts of little things might just seem off.
Not at all sure what to do about Fudge. He would need to be ousted in January, and Shacklebolt/(Moody?)/Tonks/Lupin is a path that might report the Other Minister meeting since Kingsley was packed off to sit in his office for protection (or, just possibly, to take the fall when Tom had the wizarding world well nailed down, and started targeting the Muggle government).
ETA: the problem here is that Fudge is legitimately well-meaning. He treated his Staff very well, but even Lucius didn’t bother to try to get him under Imperius. There was always a change-over planned on Tom’s side. To them, Fudge didn’t matter.
And, of course there would be no raproachment with the Order at all in this scenario. So we would have a bit of shifting and changing in minor areas to deal with. Albus would need to be back as Headmaster after the Dolores debacle, but it’s possible the puppet Ministry wasn’t ready to make an issue of the business of who was Headmaster when they had a quarter of the population to get into a position to disenfranchise, and the board of Governors were still mostly in Albus’s pocket. Enough of them would get replaced over the course of the year to shift the balance.
The whole purpose of the side-alonging DE was to force them out of #12 and into the endless camping trip. So it would need to take place after capturing the Locket. But it could have taken place at any time after that.
Q: Why the hell didn’t Harry call Kreachur to him at some point soon after their close shave on the doorstep, ask him if the DEs had gotten in, and if so tell him to take refuge somewhere the DEs wouldn’t find him? Possibly to work out some way of having him bring them food from the Hogwarts kitchens even?
(ETA: There is no reason why the DEs should have got in. Yaxley could have got in, but he couldn’t bring anyone else in. He couldn’t even tell anyone else how to get in. He may have been “escorted” there by a Secret Keeper, but he wasn’t suddenly a Secret Keeper. And why did Kreachur turn up at Hogwarts? That wasn’t in any of his orders that we ever heard.)
«I think that it would be simpler for Yaxley to get Scrimgeour under control before the coup.»
That sounds good. Then his more public role as Minister would begin on the wrong foot and only insiders would see a change. This puts Shacklebolt, Tonks and Percy up close and personal. As you said, Percy saw the real McCoy with Crouch, but if Scrimgeour’s new, with Percy’s naivete, it might take some time before he twigs. Tonks would notice something, but Scrimgeour would change offices and perhaps section of the Ministry before she could put her finger on it. Shacklebolt would have been shunted to the Muggle PM’s office as much to keep his nose out of the goings-on at the Ministry and to set him up for the fall.
«the problem here is that Fudge is legitimately well-meaning.»
I know. I can’t help but feel sorry for the guy in that way. That’s why I’d have him warn the PM at the end, when it’s obvious the Death Eaters are in control. He really does mean well. Not much of a hero, but he could do this little part and disappear from the story.
«it’s possible the puppet Ministry wasn’t ready to make an issue of the business of who was Headmaster when they had a quarter of the population to get into a position to disenfranchise, and the board of Governors were still mostly in Albus’s pocket.»
Okay, that makes sense. Albus returns, then, but under a death order, as per HBP. Voldy has Draco on first string, but Snape in reserve, and the point of getting Death Eaters into Hogwarts would be to discredit Dumbledore and any of his close staff, leading to a reorganization of the school with Snape as headmaster, according to the press.
«The whole purpose of the side-along DE was to force them out of #12 and into the endless camping trip. So it would need to be after capturing the Locket.»
Yeah, I’m out of ideas on that one. What about one of those... what were they called? I want to call them “scavengers”, but that isn’t it, the ones who ultimately took the trio and friends to Malfoy Manor, if all that’s needed is to show that someone could hitch an Apparation without invite. Ron could splinch even without that bounce, because they’re side-alonging three instead of two, which seems to be more realistic. It seems that Ron will need to be splinched, since it’s the combination of the locket horcrux and the weakness after splinching that sends him away. Does he really need to leave?
«Q: Why the hell didn’t Harry call Kreachur to him at some point soon after their close shave on the doorstep, ask him if the DEs had gotten in, and if so tell him to take refuge somewhere the DEs wouldn’t find him? Possibly to work out some way of having him bring them food from the Hogwarts kitchens even?»
We could make this happen. It nagged at me for chapters, wondering what happened to the elf. Harry really was an idiot here. He’s supposed to be the hero, he needs to look more competent and in control.
Hermione picked up by snatchers? Well, maybe. I don’t think much of it, and it wouldn’t necessarily make them have to break into the Ministry to rescue her.
I’m not altogether sure that we actually need to be IN the Ministry to hear about what it is doing. The trio ought to have taken the risk of making contact with an Order member or two at some point during the camping trip. Learn about Potterwatch then, instead of only after Ron’s return.
I think the whole point of getting rid of Ron was to raise some legitimate questions about Harry’s lack of planning when he left, and to serve as an infodump when he returned. The return itself was fairly nicely handled, although I am not convinced that I buy the idea that the Deluminator could light his way back to them.
Plus, of course Rowling hadn’t anything for him to do in Godric’s Hollow.
I was thinking of a snatcher grabbing Hermione’s arm as they Apparate, forcing them to bounce to the QWC site to begin their camping. The problem is, snatchers being able to get into #12 wouldn’t be nearly as bad as the Death Eaters being able to get there. I just can’t come up with something as effective without taking them to the Ministry for some reason.
Some random thoughts:
Someone should have noticed that Snape hasn’t passed on the secret around the point where the Death Eaters are congregating outside. But this may have changed the plot significantly. It would have raised questions about Snape’s loyalties yet again, if all they did was talk about it, nothing more. He’s already ambiguous. Having one of the trio, or someone in the Order, contacting him to test a hypothesis might be interesting.
The lack of information during the camping trip really stifled the story, IMO. They needed to have fresh news. Learning about Potterwatch early would have provided this. They needed something to move the plot a little faster, though I appreciate that she wanted to fit things within a certain time frame.
Harry really hadn’t thought things through, he just rushed off randomly because he’d been given a quest. Ron’s leaving, while pointing that out, didn’t really drive the point home, to me, at least. Of course, I’ve been saying that Harry displays the downside of Gryffindor traits for a while, with his doing first and thinking it through later. Ron’s absence could have Harry thinking more about that, with Godric’s Hollow reinforcing the message a little more overtly. Heck, Voldy had some pretty well-thought-out plans in GH, with Nagini in Bathilda’s skin. Ron’s return should be a mutual apology fest, with Harry admitting he has this flaw and showing that he’s been trying to overcome it, IMO. Deluminator sure worked like deus ex machina there, very contrived, how to smooth that over?
Xeno Lovegood needs to be in here, for the info about the “Deathly Hallows”, and to set up finding Luna with Ollivander, if those two elements are to play out as originally thought. I can’t buy the Ministry taking so long to reach his house, though. They’re magic, they can Apparate. *headdesk*
Well Beedle the Bard and his tales ought to have been introduced in Book 1, and to have been a continuing thread throughout the whole series. The Elder Wand ought to have come up in Binns’s class and been soundly pooh-poohed by Binns, the same way he discounted any truth about Slytherin’s Chamber of Secrets. There really ought to have been some other magical wonder(s?) brought up and dismissed in Binns’s class as well. This ought to have been a recurring motif in the first 5 books.
That’s a problem with Rowling. She doesn’t follow through on things that would strengthen the overall storyline if she did. Instead she keeps throwing disposable plot devices at us and then effectively forgetting about them.
Xeno probably couldn’t have been readily introduced before book 7. And Luna was not abducted until Christmas break, so his trying to turn them in wouldn’t work before that.
But it would work during the break, if the trio showed up on his doorstep within a few days after she was taken. That way no one would have realized that he no longer dared to support them, because the news that Luna was gone would not have gotten out yet. [Not even on Potterwatch.]
The trip to Godric’s Hollow needs to be before the visit to Xeno, so the Peverill thread can be introduced. Hermione needed to see the symbol on the gravestone in order to ask about it.
This whole issue needs some thought.
«There really ought to have been some other magical wonder(s?) brought up and dismissed in Binns’s class as well. This ought to have been a recurring motif in the first 5 books.»
I agree. While we had shifty-eyed Ollivander and the ‘wand chooses the wizard’ and the supposedly undetectable invisibility cloak (except, apparently for Moody) under our noses the whole time, there was nothing to even hint at other magical ‘myths.’ I can understand not wanting to give us too much (since we’d have sussed out the pattern pretty quickly) and trying to preserve some element of surprise for the last book, she could have woven in a bit more to have it really pay off at the end.
I am in complete agreement.
I don’t think there is any way, given what we got in the first six books, that we could have made any sort of connection between the wands, the cloak and the resurrection stone enough to get us to the legend.
In fact, there was NOTHING about the resurrection stone other than the “dead people can’t come back” theme that goes thru the story. We got next to nothing about James’ background to even hint at something deeper going on with family lines and inheritances and Peverills. And “The wand chooses the wizard” is meaningless unless we see some glimpse of wand theatrics earlier in the book. Ron’s wand breaking would have been a prime opportunity to introduce that.
Yes, we got Hermione’s interest in ancient runes — but it was apropos of nothing. Who would ever have thought that was a clue?
Had it all been introduced earlier, it would have made a bang-up twist at the end when Harry goes searching for horcruxes only to realize it’s the wand he must find.
And the trip to the graveyard could have had even MORE emotional impact because it really could have been more ABOUT James and Lily and less about Out-of-Left-Field Storylines™
What might have been helpful; would have been for Ron to discover the deluminator’s ability to get him back to the camp earlier. It would have been easy enough for some close shave with snatchers to have made them separate and have an anxious day or two before Ron found them again. After that for him to make occasional forays to his family to gather information would have helped.
Possibly one of the most contrived scenes in the whole camping trip was the infodump where Ted and his band of fugitives go fishing and have a conversation next to the disguised tent. I didn’t dislike it, but I think there ought to be some better way of getting that information across. The main bit of into there was the fact that Ginny had tried to steal the Sword of Gryffindor, and that, acto the goblins, the Sword is a fake. This is information that could have come through Bill, who works with goblins.
Of course that infodump also served as the triggering point of Ron bailing out, and I am not convinced that that was even necessary. It had a gratuitous feel to it, even though Ron was convincingly fed up with Harry’s lack of direction.
We don’t get a fix on the date of that infodump, other than that it was in the autumn.
I would consider repositioning the appearance of the silver doe and the Sword at Halloween, or some time in November. With Ron away on reconnaissance and not expected back until the following morning.
And once the Locket was settled, that would be where they have to figure out what they are supposed to be doing next. And they haven’t a clue. Xeno Lovegood might well come up as a possibility, even though what Grindelwald and his mark might have to do with anything would be hard to guess. After the side trip to Godric’s Hollow, they have a better reason to ask about Grindelwald, even if they still haven’t a clue as to where to go about the Horcruxes.
As to the Invisibility Cloak: surely there would be a family story about this fabled cloak and how it was handed down through the years. And surely James would have shared it with Sirius/Remus. Who might have mentioned it to Harry... Why would they deny Harry this important piece of his family history?
Yes, another dangling end. It’s enough to make you wonder whether the whole idea of the Hallows cropped up in the 3-year summer, and she just bunged it in at the first point that it would fit.
I mean, it certainly wouldn’t have had any relevant point in OotP. And while we could certainly have done with a decent subplot in HBP I’m not sure you could have introduced it there without it taking the whole thing over. Ghod knows it wouldn’t have had a lot of competition between the Quidditch and chest monsters.
I find it interesting that so many readers were able to make these wonderful connections like the knight to king stuff, or the potions relating to DADA professors, but she didn’t. And probably never did.
«What might have been helpful; would have been for Ron to discover the deluminator’s ability to get him back to the camp earlier.»
He was playing with it enough. Having them forcibly separated sounds more natural than the storming out, though I think that was to set up Ron’s feelings for Hermione (he asks her to go with him: she doesn’t). That could be shown a different way, for instance, Harry and Hermione working out a plan for whatever they’re going to be doing while Ron’s gone, and Hermione brushes Ron off and he goes off in a snit.
«Possibly one of the most contrived scenes in the whole camping trip was the infodump where Ted and his band of fugitives go fishing and have a conversation next to the disguised tent.»
Did you get the feeling there was a neon sign over the area saying, “Fugitives! Camp Here!”? That was a contrivance necessary because the trio didn’t have any information from outside. If Ron goes on fishing expeditions back to the Burrow, or to Shell Cottage, or to hang around outside Downing Street to talk to Shacklebolt, or wherever, they wouldn’t have needed this dump. For that matter, Phineas Nigellus could have filled them in on the sword caper, and Bill on both that and the rumor around Gringotts that the sword is a fake.
«I would consider repositioning the appearance of the silver doe and the Sword at Halloween, or some time in November. With Ron away on reconisance and not expected back until the following morning.»
I would plump for early November, because that’s around my birthday. ;) They could be in a colder climate farther north at the time, to make the pond suitably cold for heroic diving, or have the sword stuck in a tree, or hey, how about a stone? Just kidding on the stone, but the same sort of idea wouldn’t be bad, or without precedent. Ron could come back early with some news about an escalation in Ministry persecution of Muggle-borns or something, anything but that he got bored and lonely for his friends so he sucks up and apologizes.
Locket... Xeno... Grindelwald... Godrick’s Hollow...
Yes. Just after the doe and sword, then, maybe second week of November.
«As to the Invisibility Cloak: surely there would be a family story about this fabled cloak and how it was handed down through the years.»
That’s just the sort of thing friends would tell each other as soon as they could. “My family has this cool cloak, and here it is! Let’s raid the kitchens!”
«It’s enough to make you wonder whether the whole idea of the Hallows cropped up in the 3-year summer, and she just bunged it in at the first point that it would fit.»
It seems like it just dropped unbidden out of the sky. Is that when she started with the whole “You should ask why James didn’t have his cloak” stuff? The whole storyline felt added on and shoehorned in.
«I find it interesting that so many readers were able to make these wonderful connections like the knight to king stuff, or the potions relating to DADA professors, but she didn’t. And probably never did.»
She doesn’t seem to have gotten that, does she? Yet, there it is, along with other patterns that seem to work out. It’s really eerie how that all worked out.
I guess the question is... are we the crazy ones? She seems to always have that “you’re crazy!” look on her face when you mention these kinds of things to her in interviews.
I mean, 11-year-olds sussed this stuff out, so it could go either way. But the patterns were really complex and totally supported in the text... until the last book when it was completely torpedoed.
I think the last book was Rowling pulling the books away from those dangerous, deep waters they’d been swimming toward, and back to her original vision. The stuff was there, it’s just that it inserted itself and was ruthlessly pruned in the end, sort of like that bush at the end of our driveway will be by tomorrow afternoon.
«Is that when she started with the whole “You should ask why James didn’t have his cloak” stuff? The whole storyline felt added on and shoehorned in.»
And if we did ask why James didn’t have his cloak, what was there in canon up to that point that would lead anyone to suspect that the cloak was also one of a trio of death-defying devices that certain wizards in the know were trying to collect? Did she really think that sort of thing would come to mind instead of something like the cloak being used, say, to conceal an observer at Godric’s Hollow?
Jo wasn’t just marching to her own drum all these years, she was in a different parade on a whole different holiday.
There was about a week of intermission here as people discussed other issues. And then we got a sort of Coda.
This just occurred to me in reference to the fantasy rewrite project:
It isn’t Scrimgeour who brings Harry and his friends their legacies from Albus. It’s Fudge. The whole scene would have to be reworked. But Fudge would have been a much better bearer of this particular infodump. He’s also a good link to Percy. Percy seems to have liked Fudge. He doesn’t much like Scrimgeour. And they are both still in the Minister’s office.
And, later in the story progression we need another scene inserted. The one where Someone, probably Fudge, but possibly Scrimgeour, if you insist on introducing Pius Thicknesse, gets forced by Tom through the Veil down in the DoM in the middle of the night. Either while Harry is on guard duty in the endless camping trip, or in a dream vision. This time Harry notices the symbol of the Deathly Hallows carved into the keystone of the archway.
And has to raise the question of how something that he has been directly told was Grindelwald’s symbol a mere 50-60 years ago managed to be carved into something that has certainly been around for centuries.
ETA: In fact, I think the murder of Fudge should probably be the first of Harry’s dream/visions that comes through the reopened connection. Soon after the escape, while they are living at at #12.
I like this. Yes. Fudge could hem and haw with the best of them. Not quite Joe Flynn on McHale’s Navy, but a near British equivalent. And, he couldn’t officially answer Hermione’s question about why they kept the legacies so long, either, since he would have been out of the loop.
Fudge’s ties to Percy would work well with Fudge’s death via the veil. That would be a nice loop in Percy’s arc (do arcs have loops?). What if an Imperiused Scrimgeour was the one to do him in, then be killed himself when he fights the Imperius at about the same time the big reveal about who’s actually running the Ministry happens? Voldy would, of course, be with Scrimgeour at the veil.
Harry seeing Fudge’s murder via the scar connection would be great, and the DHs symbol would reinforce its appearance elsewhere in the book. Maybe this could be the second reference, instead of Hermione pointing it out in the fairy tale book. It would also present an interesting “mystery”, as you say, of how it was Grindelwald’s sixty year old symbol yet is on an ancient artifact. Possible erroneous conclusion could be that the veil isn’t ancient after all, but was something Voldy used in the first VoldWar, or something that was confiscated after Grindelwald’s defeat.
«In fact, I think the murder of Fudge should probably be the first of Harry’s dream/visions that comes through the reopened connection. Soon after the escape, while they are living at at #12.»
As early as possible. The story needs to get going a lot earlier than it does.
I can’t remember just when the Harry/Voldemort connection reopened*. I know it was pretty early, but cannot recall exactly when. That was never really explained either. I am left with the impression that it had something to do with the incident where Harry’s wand went on autopilot and attacked Tom on its own. But can’t figure any way that that would have opened the connection and bypassed Tom’s Occlumency shield.
Maybe Tom had simply gone past a threshold point of murders and his soul was simply no longer stable enough for him to really be able to maintain Occlumency against Harry. Maybe none of the fragments of soul left in the simulacrum were any larger than the one in Harry.
I do know that the dream vision of Tom asking about Gregorovitch took place even before the wedding, and needed to, but that was a dream, not a waking vision. So the Fudge vision, or dream, couldn’t really be the first one, but it still could be pretty early, and make it clear to Harry that; yes, the connection is open again.
ETA: I don’t think that Hermione brought up the symbol in the book until a good deal later. But I haven’t done a reread yet.
(*ETA: it was the same night the amazing Auto-wand went into action. And the first vision was of Voldemort torturing Ollivander. I really think we might have managed without that. The Fudge vision/dream would at least have seemed more mysterious if it had only been preceded by scar prickling and the Gregorovitch dream. We could have had an Ollivander vision later if we had to have one.)
I’m not thrilled with the mind-reading device, since it sometimes tells Harry what Voldy is thinking, and at other times, it doesn’t, which of course protects the missing elements in the plot. The fragments being too unstable makes the most sense to me so far. Otherwise, we’re left with Harry suddenly being magically powerful enough to break through the Occlumency, or Voldy mysteriously becoming too arrogant to maintain the Occlumency after the wand incident.
The Fudge dream coming just after the wedding would have Harry thinking about the connection, and would give information. I think Hermione noticed the symbol in the book at some point in the interminable camping sessions. She thought it was an original part of the book. I suppose Dumbledore used a spell to put it on that page. I haven’t done a re-read either. I was really disappointed with this book.
Yeah, the Gregorovitch dream could “just be a dream”, since of course Harry knows that Tom is using Occlumency against him. The Fudge dream would be a literal wake-up call.
Damn! None of this is particularly difficult to think up. Why the hell didn’t Rowling find someone she could trust to bounce ideas off of, and work it out before she wrote it? Then we wouldn’t have this mess.
The Fudge dream, then Remus’s visit and the paper mentioning that Fudge has been missing X days. Harry’s told Ron and Hermione his vision, but Hermione insists that the connection is still closed, per Dumbledore, until they see the headline and realize he’s been gone exactly the amount of days between Harry’s vision and the paper’s publication date. Outside verification.
Which was pretty much the end of the discussion in this iteration.
Comparatively little actually changes in the fantasy rewrite other than the timing, and the explanations given. Although all that repositioning would require a whole lot of background and detail shifts. (Particularly doing without Arthur for the last 2 and a half books.) But I really do think that we thrashed out a lot of very promising possibilities there. Even though a few points would probably need more in-depth exploration before whoever chose to do it worked all the potential bugs out.
But upon the whole, I think I agree with shelly_nyc. Want Fic!